« Dan Rather sues Viacom/CBS | Main | Monks March in Myanmar »

Attribution in Bluetongue

The Guardian Unlimited

There's a new disease infecting cattle in England called Blue tongue. It's been spreading across Europe since last summer and affects mortality rates, immune systems, and milk yields. It was discovered on one farm near Ipswich that has since been quarantined.

Because this is a breaking news story, sources are mostly from people. They are spread through out the story. In all, 10 sources are cited. Of these, eight are direct or partial quotes are two are paraphrased.

The reporter starts by paraphrasing, introducing the general situation and issues involved. They move into quotes as the complexity of the situation increases, letting the experts or people with vested interest speak for themselves. At least three times they put the attribution followed by colons and the quote. We've talked about this in class as an awkward construction but it doesn't seem to interfere with us understanding here. Also, the quotes tend to be rather lengthy, more than a sentence. Maybe it's just that British people are more well spoken than Americans but it makes me wonder what their policy is as far as ellipsis.

I think this works out quite well. Even if they had the quote, it made more sense for the reporters to paraphrase when it boil down a complex issue and help the readers understand better. The organization of the piece, however, is a little more confusing. Obviously it's a complicated issue but it might be better to get all of the concrete news about quarantine out of the way before bringing in all the background and reactions.